Deliverable ID:



Guisborough Community Energy



Date Entered:


Enhance Guisborough

Sub Category:


Submitted By:

Bernard Clarke


Work together to meet our energy needs using a ‘community energy’ approach.

With the present situation we continue to be the victims of high energy prices with the waste and environmental destruction caused by continuing to use fossil fuels. We can passively wait for changes to our energy supplies, done to us by others who may have no concern for the wellbeing of our town and its surroundings or we can take individual action, such as fitting solar panels, if we have the means to do so.

This proposal is about working together to achieve far better outcomes for all:

  • Collectively buy or produce our own clean green energy
  • Savings go back into the community, perhaps through a not-for-profit CIC (Community Interest Company)
  • Protect the interests of residents including our environment, our economy and the aesthetics – the appearance and ‘live-ability’ of our surroundings
  • Become a net zero town (i.e. no longer contributing to global warming through greenhouse gas emissions)
  • Have a say in how that happens.


Some green technologies have been applied to our town and nearby communities, but without community engagement it is debatable whether or not the results have been a local benefit, neutral or worse than neutral. Examples being the large solar farm in Guisborough, exterior cladding to insulate homes in a nearby village, and proposed wind farms on surrounding hills.

Community oversight can ensure that benefits enhance our community and do not detract.

Steps to develop the proposal

A. Explore the options, including but not limited to:

  • Collective switching of electricity or gas suppliers
  • A community group to support energy saving measures such as the installation of cavity wall or solid wall insulation, which can be funded wholly or partly by grant funding
  • Community-owned renewable electricity installations such as solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, wind turbines or geothermal energy
  • Members of the community jointly switch to a renewable heat source such as a heat pump or biomass boiler
  • Work in partnership with the local Distribution Network Operator (DNO) to pilot smart technologies
  • Partnership with a nearby coastal community to use wave / tidal power.

B. Evaluate in more detail which green technologies are right for our town

  • Could be mixture of ground or air heat source, solar, wind, heating mine water (ground energy from old flooded mines), etc…
  • Invite assistance from knowledgeable 3rd parties.

C. Create our own town energy strategy, based on best available advice and expertise.

D. Use our collective ‘clout’ to make it happen … because doing nothing means that instead of doing it ourselves, it will be done to us.

What is “Community energy”?

  1. It covers aspects of collective action to reduce, purchase, manage and generate energy.
  2. Projects have an emphasis on local engagement, local leadership and control and the local community benefiting collectively from the outcomes.
  3. Community-led action can tackle challenging issues around energy, with community groups well placed to understand their local areas and to bring people together with common purpose.
  4. There are many examples of community energy projects across the UK, with over 5000 community groups undertaking energy initiatives in the last five years.

Our area might be particularly suited to geothermal energy

Geothermal energy from the many abandoned mine workings surrounding Guisborough may be a promising source of cheap and abundant energy. The stored energy can be extracted for heating or to drive steam turbines and generate electricity.

This is both an opportunity and a threat:

  • Opportunity: it could provide us with plentiful cheap energy and reduce our dependence on people who have the power to fleece us. We could ‘take back control’ for real, not just as a catchy slogan.
  • Threat: many of the mine workings are under the loveliest bits of our local countryside. If they are used it needs to be managed sensitively because it could destroy some of the best bits of our town. It is better that residents control it, having the good of our community at heart, than that others control it.

References )

“The Coal Authority is working with partners to unlock the heat within our historical coal mine network, to transform the homes and workplaces of the future.” The North East and Yorkshire Net Zero Hub (a collaboration of six Local Enterprise Partnerships accelerating the transition to ‘Net Zero’ and a future of clean growth through local energy delivery potential sources of grant finance

(“Study of geothermal energy from disused coal mines wins grant”… Durham County Council is working with East Durham Trust, the Coal Authority, East Durham Business Services “and community representatives in Horden having secured the funding for a study from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Net Zero Hub.”

A study from the IPPR thinktank found that community projects, often set up with the primary aim of reducing poverty and improving people’s day-to-day lives, were also reducing emissions and restoring nature.

Luke Murphy, the lead author of the report, said: “Under the radar there are already flourishing and transformative community initiatives to pool resources and create shared low-carbon energy, housing and natural assets … These groups have shown that they can increase community wealth and create thriving places while addressing the climate crisis.”


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